Sertraline treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Despite the fact that this drug has been used for a very long time for the pharmacological treatment of mental illnesses, a big step forward has been made in recent years. Indeed, over the past couple of decades, high efficiency of methods has been achieved at the global level.

Since the nineties, there have been drugs like selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, such as sertraline, which is designed to relieve symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and, among other things, some personality disorders.

Within the framework of this logic, post-traumatic stress disorder, singled out among stress disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, is one of the diseases that are quite successfully treated with this antidepressant.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Being considered one of the disorders of the group of diseases associated with injuries and stressful factors according to one of the main diagnostic manuals on psychology and psychiatry, this disorder forms a clinical picture of the symptoms that occur after the occurrence of an event that is considered extremely disturbing and highly traumatic.

Symptoms will appear a short time after the occurrence of an event, which can be considered as one specific event, or a set of situations which, mainly, put a person at risk of death.

Thus, post-traumatic stress disorder is a common pathology in people facing extreme situations, such as, for example, military conflicts, attacks, situations of violation of basic human rights (deprivation of liberty in extreme situations, deprivation of satisfaction of basic needs), oppression and/or persecution on the basis of gender or the threat of death.

Also, if not the person themselves became a direct victim of the situation, but witnessed, for example, the death of another person in highly traumatic circumstances, these symptoms may also manifest.

These symptoms can also occur over time at work associated with extreme and unpleasant conditions, for example, firefighters, rescuers, criminologists or police officers who are faced with crimes and situations involving violence and danger.

In fact, recent studies have shown that in some companies that own social networks that have implemented manual verification and filtering of complaints about harmful materials, cases of PTSD have been recorded in employees who often encountered sensitive and traumatic materials.

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress differs from other manifestations of anxiety or other types of stress by the presence of pronounced symptoms.

One of the clearest symptoms for diagnosis are persistent, very painful memories of the event, which are described by patients as uncontrollable and suddenly intruding into their ordinary thoughts during any activity.

Disturbing dreams also occur, characterized by scenes from the corresponding incident.

But one of the most disturbing symptoms of the clinical picture of the disease is undoubtedly the so-called flashbacks or clouded memories, occurring against the background of the patient falling out of reality for a while and forcing them to act as if they had returned to the time of the incident.

For example, combat veterans become aggressive and demonstrate readiness for battle and attack, obsessed with reliving past events and not realizing the reality of peaceful life.

This pattern is accompanied by other events, such as extreme suspicion towards themselves or the rest of the world, destructive behavior towards themselves, increased irritability, anger attacks and sleep disorders, as well as others.

PTSD Treatment

PTSD has an extensive range of prescribed courses, the number of which decreases as symptoms disappear and a person returns to normal life.

The goal is for the patient to be able to compensate for the traumatic experience, and for this experience to cease to have such a noticeable impact on ordinary life, so much so that nightmares, feelings of suspicion and flashbacks go away.

Among the most effective options and, undoubtedly, the primary solutions are SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which include sertraline and paroxetine, two indispensable drugs for PTSD.

How does sertraline work?

This medicine is intended to change the work of the brain, in particular, through its regulating biochemistry, the processes of which are carried out by neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals synthesized by neurons and used to transmit nerve impulses to communicate or exchange certain signals between neurons.

Having fulfilled their function, neurotransmitters must be removed or absorbed back to restore balance

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, responsible, among other things, for controlling emotions and mood. The sertraline drug is an antidepressant that prevents neurons from “catching” serotonin after its release, from which the neurotransmitter continues to exert its effect, which consists in nothing else than a feeling of joy and happiness.

Thus, the brain saturated with serotonin begins to show a decrease in uncontrolled memories, which in turn is expressed in a decrease of flashbacks, constant feelings of suspicion of everyone and everything, and depression of mood, which is characteristic of the clinical picture of the disease.

Diagnosis and Administration of Sertraline

PTSD is a disorder that needs to be diagnosed by a specialist in this field who will be able to “read” the clinical picture. This can only be done by clinical psychiatrists and psychologists, although other specialists in this field can detect the appropriate signs and refer the patient to the right doctor.

After the diagnosis, only psychiatrists and neurologists have permission to prescribe sertraline, because we are talking about the use of a drug that requires taking into account certain aspects directly related to the patient, such as age, other diseases, etc.

Timely treatment, psychological support and medical treatment of the patient at the appropriate moment can give very good results to restore the quality of life of the patient.